Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah : An Introduction
Muhammad Khairul bin Mohamed
Other names of Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah
When the subject of Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah is looked at carefully, one cannot avoid coming across terms similar in meaning to Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah for example Firqah Al-Najiyah and few others. A point to note, these names do have their basis in the hadith of Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam and were understood to carry the same meaning as Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah. We shall briefly look at these names.
1. Firqah Al-Najiyah
This name is taken from the following hadith of Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam as reported by Anas bin Malik radhiallahu 'anh and literally mean the ‘sect that is saved’:
Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: “The people of Israel split into seventy one sects and my ummah will split into seventy two sects. All will be in hell-fire except (the saved) one which is al-jama’ah.” (reported by Ahmad and Abu Daud)
In another hadith Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam explained who the saved sect is:
“..it is one to which I and my companions belong” (reported by At-Tirmidhi) 
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal rahimahullah commented as mentioned in Al-Baghdadiy’s Syarf Ahl Al-Hadith:
“If they (Firqah Al-Najiyah) are not people of the hadith, I wouldn’t know who else.” And according to Syaikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani in al-Ghujiyah Al-Jaylani: “..and the Firqah Al-Najiyah is the Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah.” 
2. Al-Tai’fah al-Mansurah
The source of this name is taken from two hadiths reported by Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah and Muawiyah bin Qurrah radhiallahu 'anhuma below,
Narrated Al-Mughirah bin Shu’bah radhiallahu 'anh, the Prophet shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said “They will remain victorious (and on the right path) people from my followers till Allah’s order (the Last Day) comes, and they will still be victorious.” (Mutaffaqun Alaih: agreed upon)
Narrated Muawiyah bin Qurrah radiallahu ‘anhu, “I heard the Prophet shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam saying “A group of my people amongst my followers will remain obedient to Allah’s orders and the Prophet’s sunnah and they will not be harmed by anyone who will desert them and who will also oppose them, till Allah’s order (the Last Day) comes upon them while they are still on the right path”. (Mutafaqun Alaih: agreed upon)
Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak rahimahullah added: “To me they (Al-Ta’ifah al-Mansurah) are the people of hadith.” 
3. Al-Salaf Al-Salih
Ahl Al-Sunnah is also known as Al-Salaf, derived from the original Al-Salaf Al-Salih. They are called Al-Salaf for their commitment to the path and method of their predecessors Al-Salaf Al-Salih who were the best of generations. This is already mentioned in earlier hadith.
Further, Al-Salaf is generally linked to two common meanings according to the historical and the methodological contexts. Historically, it signifies the people of the first three generations, the companions, and the tabi’in and tabit tabi’in. Methodologically wise, it would refer to people from the Muslim community who are strictly following the method of the said three generations.
The use of the term historically can be found in the hadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wassalam reported by Abu Hurairah, Imran bin Hussain radhiallahu ‘anhuma and A’ishah radiallahu ‘anha:
“The best of people are (in) my generation, then those in the following generation, then those in following generation. Then there will come after them a people who will become obese and love obesity; they will testify before being asked to do so.” (reported by Muslim, Abu Daud, At-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim)
The methodology association to the term Al-Salaf indicates the approach and technique used by the first three generations in their interaction with Al-Quran and Al-Sunnah. Although emulating the generations of Al-Salaf is not historically possible but it is always possible methodologically. Thus, there is no reason why a group of people who is devoted to the style of Al-Salaf not to be referred to as one.
 Al-Tabrizi, Waliuddin Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Khatib al-Umari, Mishkat Al-Masabih (Arabic-English edition, Fazlul Karim, Islamic Book Service, 1994) Vol. 1, p. 172, footnone 106.
 Mat, Dr. Johari, Asas-asas Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah dan Khalaf (Paper presented in seminar on Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah, Badan Perkhidmatan Penerangan Islam Selangor dan WP, 1997) pp. 14-15
 Abdul Baqi, Fuwad, Al-Lu’ Lu’ wal Marjan, (Arabic-English edition, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam 1995) vol. 2 p. 159 no. 1249.
 Al-Lu’ Lu’ wal Marjan, vol. 2 p. 159 no. 1250.
 Al-Asqalani, Ibnu Hajar, Fath Al-Baari, vol. 13 pp. 293 as quoted in Asas-asas Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah dan Khalaf.
 Bilal Philips, Dr. Abu Ameenah, The Best in Islam According Al-Quran and Sunnah, (Dar al-Falah, Sharjah 1996) pp. 43-44. Also see Sahih Muslim, Book Pertaining to Merits of the Companions hadiths no. 6154-6159.
 Asas-asas Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jama`ah dan Khalaf, pp. 17-18.
HIMPUNAN RISALAH DALAM BEBERAPA PERSOALAN UMMAH : BUKU 1
Penyusun : Hafiz Firdaus Abdullah